Electronic Voting by Means of Digital Terrestrial Television: The Infrastructure, Security Issues and a Real Test-Bed

  • Roberto Caldelli
  • Rudy Becarelli
  • Francesco Filippini
  • Francesco Picchioni
  • Riccardo Giorgetti
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 305)


Electronic voting has been largely studied in different forms and applications. Typical objectives of electronic voting are to enhance security and to grant easy accessibility. Security can be pursued by means of several strategies oriented to secrete the vote, to check the voter identity, to decouple the voter from his choice and to allow the ballot to be audited. On the other hand, accessibility too can be greatly improved by providing the opportunity to vote remotely or by using voting machines, located at polling stations, equipped with appropriate interfaces for disabled people.

In this paper a Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) based voting system is presented. This kind of electronic voting technology allows disabled users (especially people with mobility problems), but not only, to cast their vote from home and, above all, by using common well-known devices. In fact, the needed basic equipment are a TV set, a Set Top Box (STB) with its remote control and a telephone line. The complete infrastructure consists of an MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) application that acts as a client application; a server application that acts as a network/counting server for e-voting; and a security protocol based on asymmetric key encryption to ensure authentication and secrecy of the vote. The MHP application is broadcasted by a certified (e.g. national) TV channel that grants its originality. The user needs a smart card issued by a national authority (e.g. the electronic identity card) to authenticate himself to the application and to sign the encrypted ballot to send to the server application. The voter can simply browse the application, displayed on his TV screen, by acting on the STB remote control. The server application is in charge to verify user identity, to gather and store user’s encrypted ballots and finally to count votes. The communication between the client application and the server takes place by means of a secured channel (using HTTPS), established over the common telephone line, while the voting operations are secured with the help of asymmetric keys encryption. The whole infrastructure has been proven in laboratory tests and also in a public demonstration for USA Presidential Election on 2008 November 4 th .


DTT MHP e-voting e-democracy digital divide disabled people accessibility 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Caldelli
    • 1
  • Rudy Becarelli
    • 1
  • Francesco Filippini
    • 1
  • Francesco Picchioni
    • 1
  • Riccardo Giorgetti
    • 1
  1. 1.MICCUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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